Fluffy Fonio Pancakes

published Feb 27, 2021
Fonio Pancakes

Light, fluffy pancakes packed with protein thanks to the addition of fonio, a super grain native to West Africa.

Serves3 to 4

Makes8 to 10 pancakes

Prep10 minutes

Cook15 minutes to 20 minutes

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

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As a kid, I absolutely loved Bisquick pancakes. They were one of the first things I learned how to make, and cooking them for my family on Saturday mornings always gave me the greatest sense of accomplishment (even if that yellow box did most of the work for me).

Now that I’m older and more seasoned to the pancake game, I’ve discovered there’s an entire world of pancakes out there that don’t come pre-mixed. And while I love a lemony ricotta pancake or a lofty buttermilk stack, the pancakes I think about most are actually made with quinoa. Years ago, I ordered them at a restaurant having no idea what to expect, and they turned out to be impossibly fluffy and oh-so delicious. I’ve been determined to re-create something similar ever since.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Enter: these fluffy fonio pancakes. While I do love quinoa, I’m partial to its cousin fonio, a naturally vegan and gluten-free super-grain native to West Africa. Fonio has a slightly nutty flavor and is packed with protein and vitamins, so it’s a tasty, healthful addition to any meal — pancakes included.

To make these pancakes, you’ll start by cooking the fonio, which is a similar process to cooking quinoa, only much faster. You’ll want to be sure you’re using the grain fonio — I like the Yolélé brand, which is sold at Whole Foods — and not fonio flour. Transfer the cooked grain to a large bowl, mix in the remaining dry ingredients, then pour in the wet ingredients and whisk to create a batter. To get a head-start, you can cook the fonio the night before and refrigerate it overnight, then use the chilled fonio in the morning.

Once cooked in a buttered skillet, the resulting pancakes are super soft and fluffy (as any good pancake should be), and because they’re packed with protein, they’ll keep you feeling satisfied for hours. Serve them with butter and maple syrup, or your own favorite pancake fixings.

Read more: What Is Fonio?

Fonio Pancakes

Light, fluffy pancakes packed with protein thanks to the addition of fonio, a super grain native to West Africa.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes to 20 minutes

Makes 8 to 10 pancakes

Serves 3 to 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup

    uncooked fonio

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons

    olive oil

  • 1/2 cup

    water

  • 1 1/2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 2 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 2 teaspoons

    baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 2

    large eggs

  • 1 cup

    milk

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 4 tablespoons

    unsalted butter, divided, plus more for serving

  • Maple syrup, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil in a small saucepan over high heat until shimmering. Add 1/4 cup fonio and stir to coat in the oil. Add 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Uncover and fluff the fonio with a fork. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool 2 to 3 minutes.

  2. Add 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and stir to combine.

  3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the unsalted butter and place in a medium bowl. Add 2 large eggs, 1 cup milk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and whisk until combined. Pour into the fonio mixture and stir until just combined, the mixture will be slightly lumpy.

  4. Melt 1/2 tablespoon of the unsalted butter in a large nonstick pan frying over medium heat. Swirl the pan so the butter coats the pan. Drop 2 to 3 (1/4-cup) portions of the batter into the pan. Cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate or 200ºF oven to keep warm. Repeat cooking the remaining batter, adding 1/2 tablespoon of the unsalted butter to the pan between batches. Serve with more butter and maple syrup.

Recipe Notes

Using cooked fonio: If you have cooked fonio already, you will need 1 cup.

Strorage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 4 days, or frozen up to 2 months.